TGL can bring golf to new parts of the country

TPC Colorado,(Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)
TPC Colorado,(Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images) /

When Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy launched the TGL, the announcement came amid a flood of changes to the PGA Tour. While two of the game’s biggest stars beginning a new league would otherwise carry the headlines, the major changes to the Tour drowned out more in-depth coverage of this new event.

The TGL may at first seem gimmicky, a lob shot of sorts, a further attempt to aggressively combat LIV Golf head-on. The mixing of simulators and new technology in a stadium setting sounds intriguing. And most avid PGA Tour fans will likely give the new league a watch. But the question seems to be whether this format has long-term sustainability.

One way to promote TGL and improve its chances of long-term success is to think seriously about where to host these events.

In taking a national view of the PGA Tour and its schedule, it becomes clear that there is little geographic diversity in host cities. As a result, the TGL has a real opportunity to bring golf and its biggest stars to corners of the country that the Tour neglects.

TGL can reach new audiences

For obvious logistical, weather-related reasons, many PGA events are hosted in the south, with its consistently warm weather and sunshine, or the southwest, where rain is at a minimum.

Additionally, again for obvious geographic, demographic, and architectural reasons, many courses sit well outside major metropolitan areas, making it difficult for many people to attend.

The numbers speak for themselves. Over the last ten seasons, California (58) has hosted more tournaments than any other state, with Florida (56) a close second. The next most golf-heavy sites include Texas (46), Georgia (27), and North Carolina (21).

These states have a slew of historic courses and will host multiple tournaments at repeat locations. Some states will host a minor Tour event on occasion, or a major tournament when the planets align (e.g., Southern Hills in Oklahoma).

Still, the PGA Tour tends to be cyclical, visiting the same sites year in and year out.

The result of this recurring schedule is that golf’s most significant events rarely make their way to some of the biggest markets in the country. For instance, Pennsylvania has a few classic sites (Merion, Oakmont, and Aronimink) that occasionally host major events, but the PGA hasn’t regularly scheduled events in the state for some time.

Colorado hasn’t received the PGA Tour treatment since 2014, when. Cherry Hills Country Club hosted the 2014 BMW Championship.

Virginia, one of the largest states (commonwealths for the nit-picking) in the country, also has hosted only a single event in the past decade (Quicken Loans National in 2015). Neighboring events in West Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina have surely attracted fans, but Virginia is not without its share of quality courses.

Lastly, Washington, a growing mecca of fantastic golf courses has also only hosted a single event, the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

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All this to say, the TGL’s flexibility and freshness offer a real opportunity to grow the game of golf by taking it to new parts of the country. New states and cities, as well as those major hubs rarely visited by the Tour.

This is an easy win for this novel venture and the PGA, as well as a way to ensure its sustainability in the future.